Irish Times Summer Nights festival: Final details revealed

Chris O’Dowd and Mary Lou McDonald among those appearing at this year’s event

This year’s Irish Times Summer Nights online festival will take place from the end of this month, with a host of high-profile guests including writers, politicians and activists in conversation with Irish Times journalists.

Supported by Peugeot, the festival takes place over four evenings from Monday, June 28th, to Thursday, July 1st.

The final line-up has now been revealed: guests for the festival's opening night include CNN correspondent Donie O'Sullivan, who rose to fame for his coverage during the US Capitol riots, and Roscommon man-turned-Hollywood star Chris O'Dowd.

Other guests for the festival include former British prime minister and one-time British Labour leader Gordon Brown, who will be in conversation with Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole.


Also participating in this nightly celebration of conversation, culture and ideas will be singer Chris de Burgh, writer and podcaster David McWilliams, rugby star Linda Djougang and author Roddy Doyle.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald will also feature. She will discuss with Irish Times columnist Kathy Sheridan her thoughts on a united Ireland and her hopes for the future.

International guests featuring in the festival include Booker-nominated Turkish-British author Elif Shafak, feminist author and campaigner Mona Eltahawy and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

Among the hosts will be Irish Times writers and editors Jennifer O'Connell, Paul Howard, Sorcha Pollak, Hugh Linehan, Jennifer Bray, Joanne O'Riordan and Patrick Freyne.

The Summer Nights festival is a follow-on event from Winter Nights, the Irish Times online festival that took place during the third lockdown last January.


Go to A single ticket costing €50 admits ticket holders to all events at the festival and further access to view a recording of each event after the festival ends. However, Irish Times digital subscribers can purchase these tickets at the discounted price of €25. Just make sure you are signed in to your Irish Times account before purchase, and the discount will be applied automatically.

Monday, June 28th

From Cahersiveen to Capitol Hill
With Donie O'Sullivan & Jennifer O'Connell
CNN correspondent and proud Kerryman Donie O'Sullivan joins us from Washington, DC, to talk to Irish Times columnist Jennifer O'Connell about mental health, the rise of the right and the storming of Capitol Hill.

Fixing Ireland's Housing Problem
With David McWilliams & Jennifer Bray
Housing will be a deciding factor in the next general election. Irish Times columnist David McWilliams talks to Irish Times political correspondent Jennifer Bray about equitable solutions to a national crisis.

A (Ros)Common Man
With Chris O'Dowd & Patrick Freyne
Ten years after his career-changing comedy Bridesmaids, Moone Boy actor Chris O'Dowd talks to Irish Times features writer Patrick Freyne about Hollywood and fatherhood.

Tuesday, June 29th

The Politics of Fiction
With Elif Shafak & Sorcha Pollak
Turkish-born novelist and thinker Elif Shafak talks to New to the Parish writer Sorcha Pollak about how art intersects with pressing global issues from women's rights to refugees.

The Next Taoiseach?
With Mary Lou McDonald & Kathy Sheridan
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald could be this country's first woman taoiseach. Irish Times columnist Kathy Sheridan talks to her about her life, her politics and her thoughts on a united Ireland.

Lads In Red
With Chris de Burgh & Paul Howard
As he prepares to get back on the road for the first time in more than a year, singer Chris de Burgh talks to Ross O'Carroll-Kelly creator Paul Howard about his storied musical career.

Wednesday, June 30th

Front Line to Front Row
With Linda Djougang & Joanne O'Riordan
Star of the Women's Six Nations Linda Djougang answers Ireland's call both as a student nurse and on the rugby pitch. She talks to Irish Times columnist Joanne O'Riordan about performing under pressure.

Looking for America
With Maureen Dowd & Hugh Linehan
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maureen Dowd has been a columnist on The New York Times Op-Ed page since 1995. Irish Times Arts & Culture Editor Hugh Linehan asks her about Joe Biden's America and the legacy of Donald Trump.

Seven Ways to Change The World
With Gordon Brown & Fintan O'Toole
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown talks to Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole about the most pressing problems facing the world and how to fix them.

Thursday, July 1st

Necessary Sins for Women & Girls
With Mona Eltahawy & Róisín Ingle
Feminist firebrand and author Mona Eltahawy tells Irish Times columnist Róisín Ingle why women and girls should be angry, ambitious, profane and even violent in order to dismantle the patriarchy.

The Thrill of it All
With Jo Spain & Bernice Harrison
Dublin thriller writer Jo Spain talks to Irish Times writer Bernice Harrison about her prolific bookwriting and screenwriting career and working on TV drama Harry Wild.

Love & Commitments
With Roddy Doyle & Fintan O'Toole
Booker-winning author Roddy Doyle talks about his literary life and times with old friend and fellow Dubliner Fintan O'Toole.